Families and communities can change the outcome of cases, and transform "Time Served" into "Time Saved" through their involvement in the court process. And we have the numbers to prove it. Below are the stories that make up the years of Time Saved. As we continue to promote community engagement in the criminal court system, we will update this site with a new running total, and accompanying picture//audio pieces. See their pictures, hear their voices, and transform the courts.
When Yareli's family came to De-Bug, they were extremely concerned about her after being detained and given an ICE hold due to contact with the juvenile justice system. At that time, she was 16 years old and if deported, would have been separated from her father, mother, two sisters and brother. She allegedly had violated her probation and had accumulated new charges of drunk in public and providing a false name to the police. What was particularly startling about her case was that it was her probation officer who reported her to ICE. What we thought was a mistake by her PO was actually routine practice. In fact, Yareli's case was just the tip of the iceberg and exposed the larger epidemic of probation officers referring juveniles to ICE in San Mateo County.
To support Yareli and her family, De-Bug organizers connected the family with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto that provides free or discounted legal services for low income families, and Yareli's defense attorney. De-Bug organizers and the family worked to make sure Yareli knew the different options available to her, completed necessary paperwork, attended all court hearings, and ensured pro-active communication between her defense attorney and immigration defense attorney so that Yareli's immigration relief possibilities would not be compromised.
While Yareli's ended up spending about 7 months in total fighting between her juvenile and immigration cases in a group home in Los Angeles, she was able to secure her relief and is now back home with her family in the Bay Area, including her new son.